Thursday, September 6, 2018

Double X: The Name of the Game (1992)

In the 1990s and early 2000s there was a bit of a thing for people famous as comedians moving into serious drama. Hugh Laurie of course, even Bob Monkhouse. But Norman Wisdom? Yes indeed he appeared in this British gangster film and it is utterly awful... and utterly brilliant at the same time.

William Katt plays ex-Chicago PD officer Michael Cooper who is on holiday in Scotland when he comes across ageing safe cracker Arthur (Norman Wisdom). He is on the run from a brutal gang led by Iggy (Bernard Hill) and Ross (Simon Ward). Well I say brutal... Iggy is almost like a pantomime villain, only slightly too over the top to make it in panto.

Our Arthur is a crook but gentle and dislikes the sadistic violent ways of Izzy, now he is on the run from various assassins who like blowing up cars in hotel carparks and the like. Cooper helps Arthur evade them... but is he everything he seems to be?

It is just so laughable, Wisdom basically plays the same role as he always has in films. Only it doesn't quite work as well in a serious crime film, especially one involving shootings and torture scenes. Sometimes though you do think you are watching a weird kind of comedy as so much of the film is absurd. To be fair as the film progresses Wisdom seems to be getting the hang of it and it is Norman Wisdom so it is very enjoyable despite the film's many drawbacks (and without him in it it would just be an unwatchable mess)... but you just keep thinking "Mr Grimsdale!" while some bloke is getting tortured with electrodes.